Baseball fans were stunned this week when ESPN confirmed Dan Shulman would be stepping away as the voice of “Sunday Night Baseball” at season’s end. Shulman, who took over play-by-play duties for ESPN’s flagship weekly MLB broadcast from Jon Miller in 2011, told Sports Illustrated that he’s looking to find a better balance between work and family with a wedding coming up next year.
Shulman will continue handling a full college basketball schedule for ESPN and will remain as the lead voice of the MLB postseason on ESPN Radio. He says he’ll also do a limited number of weeknight MLB television games for ESPN and a small package of Blue Jays games for Sportsnet in Canada. His Sunday night chair though is open, and ESPN has big headsets to fill now on one of the network’s signature broadcasts.
Fortunately for them, we’re here to lend our expertise and offer a few suggestions for who we think would serve as a good replacement.
The list includes some voices very familiar to baseball fans, another about to make history with ESPN and the NFL, along with an up-and-coming voice just now getting opportunities to show what he can do under the ESPN umbrella.
Perhaps there’s a match in our group, or maybe ESPN will pull in a name that’s not on our radar.
Here’s one that will definitely make the commenters happy. I’m going with Joe Buck, because why not? He’s experienced. And though you’ll yell about it, Buck is a good announcer. Everyone is quick to scream that Buck is biased against their club. That always comes off to me as fans being bitter. How can he be biased against everyone? And if you truly think that, well, he is treating every team the same way. Isn’t that desirable among broadcasters?
Don’t worry, though, because there’s no chance of this happening. Joe Buck already has a busy schedule. He won’t add Sunday Night Baseball to his list. Chris Berman, on the other hand, is pretty free right now. (Chris Cwik)
This seems like the easiest solution for ESPN, and sometimes the easiest solution is also the best solution. McDonough is one of the most versatile broadcasters around, and like the departing Shulman his voice lends a certain credibility to every event he calls. His résumé includes many monumental baseball games and calls over the years. The most notable coming during the epic Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS between the Pirates and Braves.
Yes, he’s been around a long time. That might not appeal to fans looking for a newer, fresher voice and perspective. Yes, he’d have to pull double duty with Monday Night Football. Maybe that’s not something that would appeal to him. But I prefer him to many of the other ESPN personalities that I fear the network could be tempted to thrust into this spot. (Mark Townsend)
ESPN already took an important step by inviting Jessica Mendoza into the booth on Sunday nights, and they should take it even further by having Beth Mowins replace Shulman. Mowins is already an employee of ESPN and she does a lot of play-by-play announcing. She’s been doing women’s college sports, but she’s also called college football games at a national level. People won’t like this choice for a number of reasons: she’s a woman, she’s done a lot of college sports, she’s a woman, she’s called women’s college sports, she’s a woman, etc. But she’s got the talent, knowledge and poise to take ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” in a different direction, and if ESPN decides to go this route, I will definitely be there for it. (Liz Roscher)
I’m a big fan of ESPN’s Adnan Virk — who I think has proven himself across all platforms in recent years. Baseball fans definitely know his work, probably most frequently from “Baseball Tonight,” but he’s in the booth for games too.
While Virk may not be an heir to the throne necessarily, he’s the type of announcer I think that would be good looking toward the future. He’s got personality. He’s funny. And I think he’d be able to call baseball in a way that would differentiate him from the typical baseball play-by-play guys out there.
As the media landscape shifts toward “voices,” Virk has one and could be a star in ESPN’s baseball ranks. (Mike Oz)
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